Though primitive, this first effort proved the boys to be quite capable in different genres. They followed it quickly with a more refined album, Controls the Universe, in 2015. It added a lot to the band's mythos, in particular Mungie, a squidlike god the two seem to have a fascination with. The album was supposedly made under the influence of typewriter correction fluid stolen from Marc's grandma, and it shows on tracks like "Encino" and "Gawd Rest His Soul". It might just be the band's quirkiest album, and also boasted 20 tracks.
Yadda released in 2017, with a "mature" cover that hinted at the band's own strange maturation. Though there were still songs about fish tacos and strawberry headed humans, there was more depth to the lyrics, particularly on "Pagan Pie" which explored love and religion. Gunkhed, the band's last album, came out in 2019 and featured a combination of these aspects of Spak. Not much has been heard from Spak since the COVID-19 pandemic started, which has fans wondering what's become of them. I spoke with Marc over Zoom to understand the band's past and uncertain future...
Marc: Yeah, it has.
I'm glad Dan got a hold of you. Where are you right now?
I'm with some family in Pullman. It's weird, it feels better than Palouse even though it's so much denser. More people wearing masks, though. I don't know shit is just weird.
How long has it been since you've seen Dan?
In person? Not since his wedding in December 2019. I talked to him last week though.
That sucks, I'm sorry. I was actually hoping to ask if you'd recorded anything new.
We did record one song over the phone. But we canned it.
Well, we can get to that later. I have some questions about each album if that's okay.
Track 5 on your first album was "I Gotta Keep Kosher"- do you keep kosher?
I wasn't doing it when I wrote that. But I do keep kosher now, yeah. My family never did growing up or anything- I mean my aunt and uncle did. I mostly ate like crap my whole life until last year, I mean I think I talk about nachos in the song. Nachos, hot dogs, cheeseburgers- just the least kosher food you can imagine. But it got really out of hand in 2020. Before that Dan's wife- his girlfriend back then- used to cook us vegan stuff at least a couple times a week. But when I started quarantining that stopped and everything I consumed was just garbage. I'm kosher now and I try to take it easy on the beef too.
What is Mungie exactly?
He was just this thing Dan used to draw back in middle school. And I always thought it was cool. Just took on a life of its own I guess, and we started writing all these tributes to it. Except as they went on I realized that what I was really doing was writing songs about God. Not a little blue squid god.
Like on "Pagan Pie"
Was that about someone?
Yeah. I was dating this girl back then and we would get in big arguments about religion. And I just thought this was so stupid because she was always starting them and putting me on the defense, about something that was barely even part of my life growing up, that I'm just starting to connect with kinda. But she had some bad experiences with religion I guess.
So religion is a big part of your life now.
It's bigger for sure. I was still writing about it even on that first album. There were just more layers of irony there. But you can see it.
Is it true you were inhaling a lot of correction fluid while you and Dan were recording Controls the Universe?
We only maybe did that a couple times, and somehow that rumor started. It's not like it's even easy to find that stuff anymore. We did a fair amount of cocaine though.
What about Yadda? Was it a lot of cough syrup for that?
Okay that one's true.
Why do you put so many songs on all your albums?
It made more sense when we were making, like, one minute songs. I think basically every song on Spak is like one minute. But then by the third album we had some four or five minute songs. But it never felt like we were done until we had twenty entire songs. We still cut a fair bit of material.
The stuff on Canola?
Yeah that's some of it. Canola Vol. 1 has the best of what got cut the first five years.
What was the first song you and Dan recorded and did you guys release it?
That was "You Don't See Me". Mako wrote that song and helped us record it. She was originally gonna be part of the band, we would call her Hacky Spak. That song was about her boyfriend at the time and we were maybe making fun of her a little bit, putting on stupid voices or whatever. We were still teenagers back then. But that song was like a blueprint for everything.
I feel like you and Dan have very different writing styles, even though you work well together. How would you describe your process versus his?
Dan's better at painting pictures than me, I think. I always used to write music and then the words were just whatever. I'm not great at writing on guitar- I usually do it on piano. But I did write "You Twist My Nips" on guitar- I was proud of that one.
Yeah. That song was very blunt. It's hard to be that honest. Spak has always had a lot of me and Dan in it but not as much as on parts of the last album we did.
Yeah. Like "Nips" was about my girlfriend helping me get sober. And "Chadess" was something Dan and Joanne wrote together about... well you know him. He wrote "Semester Decisions" which was going to be on a Husky Dog album but we used it. There's still fun stuff though like "That Rat" which was inspired by Stephen King.
What are some of your other inspirations?
Oh, me specifically? I don't know, just whatever the fuck. DEVO. Fleetwood Mac. Santana. Zappa. You know.
I have to ask: how did you manage to do that vocal on "Rotting"?
I don't even know. I just drank a lot of tea and did a line and belted it. Maybe it helped that I was younger- I can't do a huge falsetto like that anymore. I wish I could.
So do you think we'll ever get another Spak album?
I don't know. At this point if anybody's gonna reunite it looks like it's gonna be Dan's other band. That's fine though. I've been getting into writing.
What are you writing?
I'm working on a book of poetry, mostly interpretations and reimaginings of Torah verses.
But do you miss it?
I do think I miss the goofiness yeah. I miss just having fun. There was enough serious shit in the world already it was nice to just fuck around. But I just don't have the energy right now. I don't know- come back to me when someone fixes things.
Okay Marc, will do. Thanks for talking to me!
Yeah, it was fun. Bye.